Call for Papers

Revisiting the Summer of Love, Rethinking the Counterculture:
A Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love

July 27 – 29, 2017
San Francisco, CA

Call for Papers Submission Deadline: February 1, 2017

Northwestern University’s Center for Civic Engagement and the California Historical Society invite scholars for a three-day, interdisciplinary conference celebrating and reexamining the Summer of Love and its associated events, contexts, and implications. The conference will take place at Northwestern University’s new conference and networking center, located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the city that was ground zero of the Summer of Love and the home of the Haight-Ashbury, where so much of that era’s celebrated history unfolded.


The conference’s major theme is community, exploring how that idea–and reality–was renewed, explored, interrogated, and reimagined in a multiplicity of ways during the Summer of Love. Broad divisions of that theme include building community; portraying community; analyzing community; healing community; and envisioning community; through a wide variety of means and mechanisms, from activism to the arts, from esotericism to drugs.

As an interdisciplinary meeting, the conference welcomes scholars from all interested fields and theoretical perspectives. We are particularly interested in papers that bridge disciplines.

Suggested topics include art, from drama and dance to poster art and music; writers and writing, including New Journalism and contemporary theorists, such as Paul Goodman and Herbert Marcuse; minorities and marginalized populations, including African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos; GLBT and gender issues; and urban studies; as well as implications of the Summer of Love on today’s social movements.

Several prominent scholars have committed to making presentations or leading panels. They include: Fred Turner (Stanford University), David Farber (University of Kansas), Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo (St. Mary’s College), Robyn Spencer (Lehman College), Stephen Eisenman, Abe Peck and Michael Kramer (Northwestern University), and Elizabeth Ferrell (Arcadia University). Nicholas Meriwether and Peter Richardson from the planning committee will also make presentations.


Professors, independent scholars, students, and professionals working outside of the academy are welcome to participate. Adjunct professors and graduate students are particularly encouraged to apply. Limited assistance, based on need, is available for graduate students and adjunct faculty to help defray the costs of conference participation.

Proposals include an abstract of up to 250 words and a brief bio of no more than 150 words. Please note that the conference does not accept previously presented or published papers.

The submission deadline is February 1, 2017. Submit proposals through the form below. Submitters will be notified via email whether their paper is selected by April 1, 2017. Authors of selected papers are expected to attend the conference and present a brief summary of their paper. The conference schedule will be available by May 1, 2017. Final drafts of papers are due by July 1, 2017. Selected papers may be published on the conference website, made available to attendees, and/or selected for print publication.

The Call for Papers is Now Closed